by maryann johanson, liberal movie person
Thu Sep 01 2016, 05:21pm | 11 comments
What is the NYT for? (Serious question, I haven’t lived in NY and I don’t know how it fit even into the pre-Internet news ecosystem never mind now.) One of the few things a newspaper can still just about do, though most don’t, is carry plausible reviews that don’t appear to be bought-and-paid-for by the advertisers.
What is the NYT for?
National and international news, op-ed columnists, the NYT Book Review, the NYT Magazine, in-depth arts sections, the crossword puzzle. :-)
I assume the Times will continue to cover arts with a wider audience (movies, music, books) as well as New York City arts and restaurants, but will stop covering the local scene in its regional editions (Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut). They’re also going to stop covering local fires and crimes, which is upsetting as well. I guess they’ve decided to be an international newspaper that happens to be headquartered in New York, rather than a New York paper. I think it’s a very bad call; I don’t see why they can’t be both. The Times will always be assured of an international readership, but giving up on their regional readers seems in part like a betrayal of their mission.
On the bright side (or at least a dimly flickering ember of a bright side), the fact that local communities are upset about this shows that critics and reviews still matter. For all the talk of criticism being irrelevant, it appears that, at least in some communities, a review can still make or break a business.
News is expensive and nobody wants to pay for it. They can get “good enough” op-eds on Facebook. Reviews with the appearance of being unbiased are actually useful.
Actually I could easily see the shed staff getting together to produce a local-news/reviews organisation. It wouldn’t have the credibility of the NYT and of course couldn’t use its name, but it could be blatantly unsubtle about its staff (“X USED TO WORK AT THE NYT UNTIL THEY STOPPED LOCAL NEWS COVERAGE, and now writes for…”)
News is expensive and nobody wants to pay for it.
Sadly so. Except, perhaps, not quite “nobody.” I subscribe to the Times.
so do i, but a lot of the things i subscribed for orignally are either shrunk down to nothing, or have only glancing and surface coverage. the book review? bah — maybe 5 reviews a week and they stay up the whole week. movies, arts? unless they’re a paid advertisement, there’s very little there. no more movie listings — you used to be able to go and find where your indie movie was playing near you. that’s gone. however, i did see today that they’re introducing a whole new feature on *California*? i may just my subscription lapse.
It’s amusing to watch the Times staff flail around looking for new sources of income in the digital age. It’s always entertainingly random. They’ve tried a wine club, a 3-D viewer, and the Times Insider, which is a feature where reporters write about how and why they wrote a news article. Apparently, no one wants to hear why they wrote a news article; every few weeks I get an increasingly desperate phone call or e-mail asking me if I want to subscribe to Times Insider.
Maybe they should offer a subscription service that provides local news and reviews for your area.
My subscription is for access to the Times online plus the physical paper on weekends. I don’t know what the weekly paper is like, but the weekend edition still definitely has the Book Review (with more than five reviews), plus local movie listings for Sunshine, Film Society, Angelika, Film Forum, etc.
I do miss the full page that listed showtimes for movie theatres in every borough—though some of that information is on the website.
not any longer. it’s been gone for weeks, as i found out when i went to use it to find a theatre near me playing Jason Bourne.
The lesson I take from all this is: Journalism (and movie listings) will continue to exist in the world, but we may not get them from the New York Times.
I’ve always found Fandango pretty easy and user-friendly for movie listings.
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